Accessibility links

Breaking News

US Agency Plans to Invest in Businesses That Empower African Women

Ivanka Trump attends the African Women's Economic Empowerment Dialogue meeting at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) headquarters, in Addis Ababa, April 15, 2019.

A U.S. government agency says it plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in businesses that empower women in Africa.

President Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and the acting head of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), David Bohigian, announced the initiative Monday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where they are part of a U.S. government delegation.

A statement from OPIC says the “2X Africa” initiative aims to mobilize $1 billion and directly invest $350 million in companies and funds “owned by women, led by women," or by "providing a good or service that intentionally empowers women on the continent.”

The statement said that on Sunday, Bohigian signed a “letter of interest” with an Ethiopian company called Muya to help support the company through OPIC financing. Muya, owned by fasion designer Sara Abera, produces household products and was the first Ethiopian company to obtain membership in the World Fair Trade Organization.

Ivanka Trump visited Muya on Sunday after she arrived in Addis Ababa for a summit on African women's economic inclusion and empowerment.

She is in the East African country to promote a $50 million initiative enacted by her father in February that is aimed at encouraging women's employment in developing countries.

"Fundamentally, we believe that investing in women is a smart development policy and it is a smart business," Trump said after sampling coffee at a traditional Ethiopian ceremony. "It's also in our security interest, because women, when we're empowered, foster peace and stability."

Trump also laid a wreath at an Ethiopian Orthodox church to honor the victims of last month’s Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed all 157 people on board.

It was not immediately clear if the controversy that surrounds the U.S. president will follow his daughter to Africa. The president has not been kind in his remarks about Africa and its migrants.

Ivanka Trump is also scheduled to meet with Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed before going on to Ivory Coast, where she will attend a meeting on economic opportunities for women in West Africa.

She is also scheduled to make an appearance at a World Bank policy summit.